While automakers are fervently cutting back on programs for future sports cars, Akido Toyoda, Toyota Motor Company’s new president, has other plans.
“My hope is I can transfer some enthusiasm from the race track to our vehicles,” he said during an automotive business conference held in Traverse City, Michigan, “and make driving fun for our customers around the world.” Toyoda confirmed that development of the long-awaited Lexus LF-A supercar has continued, and it will be launched “soon.” Having fielded a race-prepped version of the V-10 coupe in the 24 hours of Nurburgring, Toyoda has nothing but praise for the future Lexus flagship. “It was a great test for me,” he said,” and a good way to improve an exceptional car that we will soon bring to market.” Admittedly, the LF-A’s high content levels and stratospheric price tag--estimated to be close to $200,000--place it out of reach of the everyday enthusiast. Such realities haven’t been lost on Toyoda, as he also plans on expediting the launch of an affordable sports car. Nicknamed the “Toyobaru,” the sports car is being co-developed between both Toyota and Subaru. Although the project’s future has long been the subject of rampant speculation, Toyoda confirmed the car will reach production “soon.” At the same conference, Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, discussed that the sports car could be sold as either a Toyota or a Scion. “I think it’s going to be great for sales and great for the Toyota image,” Lentz said. He also noted that if it were branded a Toyota, it could compete against Scion’s tC coupe, which will be redesigned in the next few years. Source: Wards (1, 2)